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ABOUT VAN WEZEL FOUNDATION

Our Story

Fifty years ago, a city with a rich history of art, culture and philanthropy opened the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, the center of civic and cultural vitality.

Since 1987, the Van Wezel Foundation has partnered with the City of Sarasota to foster a connection between the city, the people, the bay and the spirit of human creativity. Through this collaboration and the generosity of donors, the Foundation has provided grants of more than $14 million to ensure arts education training for more than 400 teachers and arts education programming to more than 30,000 students and at-risk youth across four counties each year.

Our Mission

The mission of the Van Wezel Foundation is to create a world-class performing arts center that enriches the community, supports arts education and inspires young minds. 

Leading Roles

VAN WEZEL FOUNDATION
BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2020 – 2021

Van Wezel Foundation Board Leadership:
Jim Travers
Board Chair*
Jenne Britell
Board Vice-Chair & Chair of Strategic Planning Committee*

Van Wezel Foundation Board Members:
Ali Bahaj
Chair of Governance Committee*
Gerald L. Biller
Chad Campbell
Vern Chalfant
Board Treasurer & Chair of Finance Committee*
Mark P. Famiglio
Julie Harris
Board Secretary*
David Koffman
Michael Martella
Elaine McClure
Karl Newkirk
Nanci Ross-Weaver
Chair of Arts Education & Community Engagement Committee*
Charlie Wilson
Mike Wilson

Van Wezel Foundation Ex Officio Board Members:
Mary Bensel
Executive Director, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
Cheryl Mendelson
CEO, Van Wezel Foundation

*Executive Committee

COMMUNITY COUNCIL

Darrell Ayers
Adam Carmer
Jackie Griese
Stephen Griese
Roxzene Hunter
Michael Kneeland
Ed Maier
Peter Powers
Tracey Reid
Drayton Saunders
Jim Schaffner
Craig Steinhoff
Janet Walter
Christopher Weaver
Patricia White
Janet Winkler

EMERITUS BOARD MEMBERS

Herta Cuneo†
John M. Dart
Beatrice Friedman†
John Jakes
Carolyn Michel
Michael R. Pender, Jr.

† deceased

STAFF

Cheryl Mendelson
Chief Executive Officer
Email

Susan McCreary
Chief Financial & Administrative Officer 
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Tracey Long Beeker
Director Communications & Community Engagement
Email

Sasha Hausman
Director of Development
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Suzanne Hudson-Smith
Associate Director of Leadership Gifts
Email

Nancy Denton
Annual Giving Manager
Email

Cathleen Mai
Administration Manager
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Alyssa Holcomb
Foundation Coordinator
Email

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